It is very important that Citizens of Tallahassee Florida pay close attention to the terrible situations in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota. There are very important lessons to learn from these situations that will protect both civilians and our law enforcement officers.
First and foremost, it is imperative that we make sure our Tallahassee Police officers are equipped with body camera technology. This technology protects both the officers and civilians in these types of conflicts. However, while we know that body cameras are very useful, cameras alone do not stop bullets. In order to reduce the frequency of these situations, civilians need to be properly informed of their rights and requirements for compliance when encountered by an officer. On the other hand, officers must be aware that there will be stringent consequences for mistakes and inappropriate use of deadly force.
This is why I am advocating for the establishment of an independent civilian review board in Tallahassee. We give our officers great power and that power must be checked and balanced by our citizen’s boards. This is the best way to ensure and protect law and order in our democracy. I also believe that if citizens know there is a proper channel for recourse when they feel violated by an officer they will be less likely to try to settle the matter on their own during an arrest.
I understand how difficult these situations are for our officers. Therefore, we should do all that we can to make sure they receive adequate training on de-escalation, recognizing implicit bias, dealing with the mentally ill individuals, and respecting the rights of citizens while protecting themselves. Tallahassee should use these tragedies as an opportunity be proactive now so that we can make sure our city is not next on prime time news for murders of civilians by those we pay to protect them.